Saturday, October 1, 2011

Can a Turtle Save a Dog?

It's a serious topic today: Protecting our pets.

I have two small dogs, and I have a pool. Neither dog likes water, so they don’t jump in the pool on purpose, and they avoid coming near it if people are splashing around. But there are some narrow spaces between the pool and the house, and between the pool and the back fence, where the dogs run back and forth making their rounds of the property for important tasks such as sniffing, digging, eating unidentified objects, barking, and producing volumes of waste matter.

This is Manny, the dignified, wise, and often grumpy old man of the house. He has never fallen into the pool.

This is Dolly, the silly, happy-go-lucky flibbertigibbit with non-stop energy. She falls into the pool A LOT. Fortunately I’ve always been nearby to haul her out.

If one of these 14-pound dogs with 7-inch legs falls into the pool at the deep end, they can’t climb out. I spent some time over the summer trying to teach them to swim to the steps instead of scrabbling at the edge, but panic sets in as soon as they hit the water and they don’t grasp the concept of swimming across the pool. Plus, even if they reach the stairs, it’s very high for them and it takes a huge burst of doggy strength to leap from the top step to the patio.

Then I looked into pet-safety measures thinking there had to be some type of platform or ramp that would assist little dogs in this situation. I investigated Doggy Docks, Skamper Ramp, and Pool Pup, which are all types of steps or ramps, and found that they would not work for various reasons. The biggest problem being that the dog still has to swim TO the ramp, step, or dock to get out.

So I thought if I can’t prevent it, maybe there are other safety precautions. I found that there are several pool alarm systems that can be used for children, pets, and even wildlife. The best one seemed to be the Safety Turtle, which is an alarm for the pet, not the pool. If a pet wearing a turtle is submerged, a central receiver is triggered and sets off a very loud alarm.

The turtle transmitter slides onto the pet collar.

I received my Safety Turtle system today and tested it. Now everything is installed and the dogs are turtled and ready.

Unfortunately this only gives me peace of mind when I’m at home and can hear the alarm. I still have to come up with a solution for when I’m away. When we go out of town for more than a day, a pet sitter visits the dogs twice a day for feeding and play, but what about the 12 hours between each visit?

Any suggestions for pet safety around swimming pools?


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